Japan with Children

Old Jan 9th, 2002, 10:13 PM
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Japan with Children

We are taking 2 young teens to Japan this summer. We are used to sharing one room with 2 double beds -- even did this in Italy last year with no problem. This trip will begin in Yokohama, where I have a meeting, and then we're open. So, 2 questions:
1) What should we expect for hotel rooms? Is it possible to get a room large enough for 4? We've heard the hotel rooms are very small. We'd welcome suggestions of any specific hotels to try.
2) Any suggestions on a 10 day touring itinerary around Japan -- especially one that might appeal to 2 young teen girls?
Thank you very much.
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 12:45 AM
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Hi Ed- You might try searching on Japan...we've had lots of discussions on trips with teens.
You'll find western style hotel rooms in Japan much too small for 4 people. their 'doubles' have 2 twin beds, and not enough floor space to camp out there either. Trust me...we ve tried with our 2 girls, and it didn't work even when they were small! Best bet are Japanese style rooms if you all want to be in the same room and have space to roll over in the night. An inexpensive option is to stay in youth hostels and ask for a family room. Usually you'll get a private room with 2 sets of bunk beds. think colleg dorm as far as the baths in a big hostel--one for boys, one for girls. In smaller hostels or ryokan you'll have private use of a shared bath.
Our favorite places in Japan: Kyoto, Nara, Takayama (up in the mountains, so it will be cooler in the summer),Nikko and Lake Chuzenji (take the city bus up to see the waterfall), Himeji (pop in only for the castle), Nagoya (good shopping under the train station and a great aquarium, but not much else) and Tokyo (for the museums in Ueno park, Asakusa area and for sightseeing and shopping in Harajuku on Sundays). Take the city bus tour in Tokyo---it leaves from Tokyo station, but call ahead to reserve, as english tours fill up. Kamakura is also fun with teens,and there is a beach with surfers in the summer. Actually, the beach is there all year, but the surfers show up only in the summer!
In Kyoto, lots of school girls hang out at the Golden Pavillion. Their teachers send them there to practice English, and your kids will be a target. We have pen pals from years ago!
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 12:58 AM
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I was dumped without warning before I could mention 3 of the best places we've stayed with our girls. Ryokan Shigetsu in Tokyo near the Asakusa temple is immaculate and a great location. They will probably put you in two rooms side by side (they'll have private baths). We also stayed at the tokyo international Youth hostel for about $120/ night. It is on the 18th floor of a highrise above a train/ subway station (ikebukuro?) Fabulous views, very convenient, and a very friendly place for teens. Noise level can be high if there are lots of foreign school kids. In kyoto, we like the Japanese rooms at the kyoto Central Inn. Very quiet, big clean rooms with private baths , but very ugly hallways. It is right across from Takashimaya Department store. Just walking around the neighborhood kept our kids happy- and it is on a subway station and the intersection of all the bus lines in Kyoto. In additon, it is next to the big pedestrian malls with shops selling everything from used USA jeans and temporary tatoos to fine Japanese crafts.

Old Jan 10th, 2002, 10:15 AM
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For the first part of your trip in Yokohama, you might enjoy a trip to Sankei-en, a large landscape garden which was formerly part of a private estate. It's a lovely place for a walk, and contains some examples of traditional Japanese architecture - the most fascinating of which is the model of an old-fashioned thatched farmhouse, where you can climb a ladder to the top floor. Before or afterwards, the street called Motomachi-cho is a good place for cafes, shopping, etc. and is a short taxi ride away from the garden. Have a wonderful time - and remember that Japan is hot and humid in the summer.
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 10:31 AM
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In Yokohama, you might enjoy a visit to the Ramen (noodles) museum
"...the city of Yokohama has opened an entire museum devoted to the ubiquitous Chinese noodle. More than just an ordinary museum, it's also part historical theme park and part hyper-specialized restaurant mall. "

In Kyoto, Eiga Mura (Movies village), where many samurai movies are shot. Fun, and a good recreation of traditional Edo period town.

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